|Jedi Master Joruus C'Baoth|
As I turned the final page of Dark Force Rising last week and sat there, trying to figure out how I was going to not write twenty-five different blog posts about all the different thoughts, emotions, and new observations crowding into my head at once, it occurred to me that Joruus C'Baoth is an enigma worth his own post (and if I refuse him one, I hate to think what he'd do ...).
Like so many of Zahn's other characters, C'Baoth isn't just evil. Dark Force Rising is the only book in the series where readers actually get to see events from C'Baoth's point of view and then, only when he's alone on Jomark. Egotistical and power-hungry C'Baoth might be, convinced that he "had found the true meaning of power", but he's also struggling with the nature of himself (Dark Force 22). He's paradoxically driven to twist and warp the minds of those around him, bending them to his will even as he's physically and emotionally hurt by his own actions: "It was hard ... to hold his thoughts and feelings closey in line" (Dark Force 29). His own nature is apparently driving him to madness. Just using the Force causes him pain: "It was hard to concentrate - so very hard - but with a perverse grimness he ignored the fatigue-driven pain and kept at it" (Dark Force 92). A healthy living being's reaction to pain is to avoid it or cure it, if at all possible. C'Baoth continues to push himself further into it and, while he continues to gather power to himself, also continues to destabilize his own mind, driving himself further into madness.
|Captain Pellaeon, Grand Admiral Thrawn, Jed Master C'Baoth|
Another round of applause to Zahn for creating a truly terrifying villain (or is he a victim? He is a clone, after all) ...